Phospholipid Profiles Are Selectively Altered in the Putamen and White Frontal Cortex of Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic, neurodegenerative illness that onsets in late adulthood as a series of progressive and terminal cognitive, motor, and psychiatric deficits. The disease is caused by a polyQ mutation in the Huntingtin gene (HTT), producing a polyglutamine expansion in the Huntingtin protein (HTT). HTT interacts with phospholipids in vitro; however, its interactions are changed when the protein is mutated in HD. Emerging evidence suggests that the susceptibility of brain regions to pathological stimuli is influenced by lipid composition. This study aimed to identify where and how phospholipids are changed in human HD brain tissue. Phospholipids were extracted using a modified MTBE method from the post-mortem brain of 13 advanced-stage HD patients and 13 age-and sex-matched controls. Targeted precursor ion scanning mass spectrometry was used to detect phospholipid species. In the white cortex of HD patients, there was a significantly lower abundance of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylserine (PS), but no difference in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). In HD putamen, ester-linked 22:6 was lower in all phospholipid classes promoting a decrease in the relative abundance of ester polyunsaturated fatty acids in PE. No differences in phospholipid composition were identified in the caudate, grey cortex or cerebellum. Ether-linked PE fatty acids appear protected in the HD brain, as no changes were identified. The nature of phospholipid alterations in the HD brain is dependent on the lipid (subclass, species, and bond type) and the location.
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